Cattle on a Thousand Hills

Hey, folks, most people begin their lives when they are born. Right? But Jesus, our Savior, our King of Kings, was present at creation. Jesus, the Son of God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, burst into humankind as a baby born in a stable to a very young woman, a virgin, with no mother nearby to tell her what to do. And the cattle munched on wisps of hay and the donkey let out an occasional bray. And on a nearby hillside shepherds saw the most spectacular fireworks I think this world has ever seen–yet!

As I write this short Christmas Eve message to you, I hear thuds and pops of fireworks in the distance as some choose that way to welcome Christmas Day. Others are already fast asleep enjoying some rest from all their buzzing preparations. And others are still at it, preparing food, setting out cookies for Santa, feverishly finishing some gift.

We celebrated Christmas with one branch of our family earlier tonight. First, we met at church and enjoyed the Christmas Eve candlelight communion service. My little two and a half-year-old granddaughter sat in my lap and was awestruck by the brass and drums and the beautiful candles everywhere. When it came time to light our candles and sing “Silent Night” she began to shiver in my arms. I thought she was afraid at first. But I decided she was simply moved by the awesomeness of light and sound.

After church we came to our house to a simple meal of breakfast casserole and fruit salad. After that we trooped into the living room to open presents. There are two new step-grands in this group and we didn’t know how they’d respond to our simple traditions–reading The Christmas story before opening the first package, opening packages one at a time, allowing each person who receives a gift to be the one to choose the next present from under the tree and deliver it. They fell right into place as if they’d always been with us!

After dessert and a lot of laughing at our little one-year-old dancing to his big sister’s karaoke music box, the whole troop headed home to make cookies for Santa.

The quietness has settled in. I loved the lights and music and laughter and fun. But I love the quietness too. Imagine how the shepherds must have felt after the angels left them out on that hillside. Their ears must have been buzzing with the spectacular sights and sounds and then–just a quiet Judean night again with sheep shifting in their sleep. As they walked to Bethlehem, just a mile or so away, they must have talked about the mystery of it all and then as they left the stable having seen the very Babe of Whom the angel spoke, they had to be skipping and babbling in their excitement. 

Yes, in the quietness, I can remember again that the Jesus we worship has always been, will always be, and, yes, He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills!

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